R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)
In May 1915, the PMBRA decided to experiment with the construction of a tractor-type aeroplane of more conventional design, powered by a 100hp engine. To undertake the design work, a committee was formed consisting of Engineer Shuhei Iwamoto, Capt Nobuhide Sakurai and Capt Akira Matsui, all recently returned from aviation research study in France. Joining them were Lt Shigeru Sawada and Lt Kenjiro Nagasawa, also from the PMBRA. The intention was to produce a general operational type aircraft to become standard equipment for the Army.
The design reflected many of the technical details found in the German L.V.G. D IX. The unequal-span two-bay wings folded to the rear for ease in railway transport. For this first aeroplane, the Association used the 100hp Mercedes Daimler engine that the Imperial Flying Association had imported from Germany for installation in the Rumpler Taube monoplane. This engine was later licence-built by the Army Tokyo Artillery Arsenal and the Chikusa Army Machinery & Equipment Manufacturing Works of the Nagoya Army Ordnance Arsenal for the Type Mo-6 Aeroplanes. Fuel capacity was 360 litres to enable nonstop flight between Tokyo and Osaka. This was the first Japanese-made aeroplane to have a loaded weight exceeding 1 ton.
When completed on 30 April, 1916, at Tokorozawa, it was designated the Seishiki-1 Aeroplane, Seishiki meaning official type, to mark the beginning of an all-new generation of military aircraft which came up to European military standards at that time. Ground tests made by Lt Morikichi Sakamoto on 1 May, 1916, were successful, and five days later, Lt Sawada made the first test flight. Unfortunately, immediately after take off, the fuel-tank pressurization was lost and the engine stopped, causing an emergency landing with serious damage to the aeroplane and slight injuries to Sawada.
Repairs were completed by December at the Nagoya Army Ordnance Arsenal and included installation of a gravity-feed fuel system with a fuel tank in the upper wing centre-section. Wing struts were added to support the outer extensions of the upper wing, aileron area was increased in chord, and the undercarriage skid was removed.
Once the aeroplane was flying again, its performance was found to be disappointing mainly because of poor stability, calling for a full redesign rather than modifications, so it was used only for experimental purposes. On 24 July, 1917, a Maurice Farman 1914 flown by Capt Nakanishi collided with the tail of the Seishiki-1 Aeroplane while on the ground, resulting in the dismantling of the aircraft for parts.
Single-engine tractor biplane tactical aircraft. All-wooden construction with fabric covering. Rearward folding wings for railway transport. Crew of two in open cockpits.
100-110hp Mercedes Daimler six-cylinder inline water-cooled engine, driving a Heine two-bladed wooden propeller.
One dorsal flexible machine-gun. Unspecified bomb load.
Span 15.10m (49ft 6 1/2in); length 9.35m (30ft 8in); height 3m (9ft 10in); wing area 40.5sq m (435.952sq ft).
Loaded weight 1,100kg (2,425Ib); wing loading 27.2kg/sq m (5.57Ib/sq ft); power loading 10kg/hp (22lb/hp).
Maximum speed 58kt (67mph); climb to 1,000m (3,2 80ft) in 10min; endurance 7hr.
One built in April 1916.